This was a win for the manager Mickey Callaway. The battered Mets manager certainly needed a win Monday night at Citi Field and for now his job is safe. Though all along this disappointing and bad turn of events for a team with expectations should not be attributed to the manager.
A team is as good as the players on that roster. Just ask Joe Torre and those four Yankees World Series titles. Torre was a manager always under criticism, yet he managed to win because he had the players to do it. Terry Collins, the predecessor to Callaway, all you have to do is ask him.
The Mets of 2015 came on strong. A few additions to the roster, Daniel Murphy on a home run tear, and the dynamite arms of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. All of that made Terry Collins better at what he did.
Four years later, after a 1-5 road trip, three stinkers against the Marlins, and the Mets are a mess again. But the manager was on the hot seat, and not the players after scoring no runs and compiling three hits in the last two games of the series.
So of course the manager is on the hot seat after his team is swept by the worst team in baseball. His team had a meeting before they snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Nationals, a team playing below expectations and with a manger on the hot seat.
But these are the Mets. They are supposed to win under a new regime and with a general manager who came in and built this roster, also proclaiming that teams would have to come after them.
Yes, Brodie Van Wagenen was aggressive out of the gate. He made the moves. Mets fans were content to see their GM making the moves as was your truly here. But some of those moves had to be questioned. Obvious former clients of the GM as a player agent were in question and not for a conflict of interest.
Jed Lowrie? That two-year $20 million contract has gone south with an injury. Another former client of the GM, and this is becoming a short term version of the Yankees signing of Jacoby Ellsbury but not as costly.
We heard about Yoenis Cespedes and his setback with ankle fractures. Leave that so-called optic to the former GM, “The Master” Sandy Alderson and of course this Mets ownership that does their part of trying to keep the fan base content. The Cespedes contract? Except for 2015, a top three worst signing for the New York Mets and worse than Bobby Bonilla or Mo Vaughn.
“We haven’t played to our expectations,” Van Wagenen said. He said there is confidence in the clubhouse, that this will turn around, and most of all that Mickey Callaway is the manager for now and in the foreseeable future.
Overall, the manager is not to blame here. Yes, some moves are questioned as some of the best who have made decisions from the dugout have always been under scrutiny from the fans and from the media upstairs. And when that backing from the GM was made public, with Callaway in the same press conference room, there was some relief.
The relief comes with winning. Monday night, Pete Alonso, perhaps the best move by the GM to put him on the roster, hit his 15th home run and got the Mets rolling. After that, hits came and this was a team that was expected. The stinkers down in Miami were a distant memory and Monday night it was time to move on.
They always say in this game, hitting is contagious. One guy goes bad in the lineup, up and down they all do. One goes good, up and down they can’t miss. That’s the game of baseball. And of course the Mets with this pitching staff, built on those arms of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Matz have not been consistent.
Want to blame Mickey Callaway for something? You can pick on him because he is this pitching guru and the rotation has for the most part not been consistent. This manager has a different demeanor and does not show the agony of this fall of a team with all these expectations.
Mickey Callaway is not Terry Collins of two years ago, who said out loud, “These are not robots in that room. If anyone of them can’t do the job we will get someone who will.”
Yes, the manager is as good as his players. Mickey Callaway, and under the circumstances of analytics, got a reprieve. Brodie Van Wagenen said this is the Mets team now and things will get under control.
And the manager of the Mets said it best after a much needed win at home: “We have to start winning games. And that’s what our focus has been all along.”
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